When it comes it improving your overall customer experience - gathering and analysing your customer feedback (for example through an online survey) is the ideal way of understanding your customers, or the “voice of the customer”.
Here we’ll list five effective ways of gathering and leveraging your customer feedback.
If you’re still on the fence about why improving the customer experience is important, consider this: Customer experience drives sales for both transaction based and membership based businesses (Harvard Business Review, August 2015). Customers who had the best experiences with a company, spend 140 per cent more than those who had the poorest experience. Whoa—need any more incentive?
1. Customer-centric wins the race
Analysing customer feedback is a great way to know where the gaps in your business are. Any flaws will show up – there’s no-where to hide!
Don’t forget that just as anyone else, your customers want to be heard and respected and to know that their feedback is incorporated into your business plan. The most thought-through customer feedback strategies are intuitive, and work at their best when the whole company listens and effectively responds to the voice of the customer.
Making customer-centricity your end goal for your entire business means that you have a greater chance of achieving your business goals.
2. Establish the “why”
Before getting on the survey bandwagon, you need to establish what your business goals are. Why do you need this data in the first place and what are you going to do with it? How can you ensure that your business is making the most of this valuable feedback?
Often, the main objectives is to facilitate communications between your business and the customer. This can be made difficult by the fact that many businesses are online these days, whereas if you have a retail shop, you’d interact with your customers on a daily basis. So online businesses need a way of being able to communicate with their customers in a nimble and straightforward fashion.
Some common “why’s” i.e. goals are to measure customer loyalty, get insights for new product development, understand the gaps in the business and gauging how effecting customer service is.
3. It’s hammer time
Establishing when the right time is to gather your feedback can be tricky. There are some best practice pointers though which are:
- The less invasive you are the better. Don’t bombard your customers, if you ask them for feedback as soon as they click on your homepage, they may be put off and leave. A natural time to ask for feedback can be to follow up with an email asking for feedback after they have made a purchase or a quick poll when they have spent a significant amount of time on your website
- Do it regularly. For your customer feedback to be effective and provide you with enough data to measure patterns over time, you need to conduct a survey at least twice a year.
- Leverage loyal customers when they return. If your goal is to increase the number of loyal customers who return, identify who your current loyal customers are and when they return, ask them why they did. To be able to leverage the voice of your customers, you must always both be listening and observing what your customers do so that you can make intelligent decisions based on that knowledge.
4. It’s all in the execution
There are lots of ways of gathering your feedback, here are the most common ones:
- Customer-facing staff. Creating a culture where your employees are always listening, but also are given power to act on the feedback is essential, so that they can add more value to the customer feedback process.
- Hire a third-party customer feedback provider. Hiring a company to act on your behalf means that they can collate unbiased feedback. They are specialised to design customer surveys and set them up in a way that you strategically can reach your business objectives. A specialised third-party provider not only gathers and analyses your feedback, but provides you with the meaningful insights you need.
Here at Customer Monitor, we do all of the above, plus the following:
- Use customer feedback tools. Using an advanced online tool can help you monitor daily feedback any time and gather your data in multiple ways. For example it can be a poll on your website, an e-mail newsletter or an online surveys that are sent to customers via e-mail. Online surveys are the preferred method because as they are the most cost-effective and efficient means of collating data quickly. Additionally, using an online survey means you don’t have to worry about human error from a surveyor keying in data over the phone.
- Listen in. Something you can start doing on your own is to listen to your customers on social media; Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are the most common channels.
5. Leveraging your results
Once you've received the feedback, it’s crucial to be able to use it throughout your business. If you don’t take action on the feedback, you might as well not have surveyed your customers in the first place.
One sure way to annoy your customers or clients is to ask for their opinion but then do nothing with the feedback. Also, customers who believe companies take action based on the feedback feel better about the company and are more likely to respond to surveys.
Sometimes management will see the results but no one else, therefore upon getting your results, distribute your feedback throughout the company to make sure everyone hears the voice of the customer loud and clear. And, make sure they know how your business will act upon it. If your customers know that you’re listening, they’ll see you as responsive to their concerns, and willing to make important changes.
To learn more about how to get feedback with an online survey, check out our free eBook on everything you need to know about online customer surveys, below.